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8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I October 2008
£600,000 payout for
solicitor in race claim
A Muslim solicitor who was suspended from was a “whitewash”. implementing them as a matter of priority.
work by the Crown Prosecution Service Its judgment stated: “This would be a We offer a full apology to Halima Aziz.
after joking at Bradford Magistrates Court completely unacceptable response on the “The CPS decision to contest this
she was a friend of Osama bin Laden has part of any employer, but for a public body matter was made in good faith after having
been awarded a record £600,000 payout like the Crown Prosecution Service it can taken independent legal advice and this
for racial discrimination. only be regarded as astonishing.” advice was borne out by the decision of
An employment tribunal found that Ms Aziz’s lawyer Mark Emery, the Employment Appeal Tribunal which
there was “not a shred of evidence” to of Bindmans solicitors, called for an ruled in the CPS’s favour in 2005.
support the treatment of Halima Aziz by independent inquiry. “As the Employment Tribunal judgment
the CPS and ordered it to reinstate her “According to this judgment, serious makes clear, the judgment relates solely
and issue a full and unequivocal apology, questions have got to be asked at chief to the ‘very particular circumstances’ of
according to documents seen by Channel executive level and it is possible that this one case. It does not question the
4 News. questions have got to be asked higher up overall approach and policies the CPS
The seven-year battle has cost the the chain,” he told C4N. has pursued in the field of equality and
taxpayer an additional £500,000 in legal “It does ask questions about public diversity.
costs, said the programme. confidence in the CPS’s ability to handle “The CPS takes equality and diversity
Ms Aziz said she would have accepted very sensitive race-related prosecutions very seriously, both in relation to its
a simple apology after the initial incident if, at the heart of the CPS - at the senior employees and the public. Our positive
and was “100% certain” she would have echelons of the CPS, there is such wilful progress since 2001 has been recognised
been treated differently if she was not failure to comply with race relations by a number of outside bodies.
Muslim and of Asian origin. legislation. “The CPS is committed to securing a
The lawyer was working at Bradford “I think the public is entitled to ask how workforce that reflects the communities it
Crown Court in October 2001 - a month can the CPS properly prosecute these serves, at all levels, and is succeeding in
after 9/11 - when she was accused of kinds of cases.” this. Of the most senior prosecutor group
blaming the terror attacks in the US on Ms Aziz said: “(The CPS) still haven’t within the CPS, chief crown prosecutors,
“Jews”. given me an apology for what they have currently over 13% are from ethnic
Ms Aziz denies making this comment, done. If they had apologised to me right minority backgrounds, as are over 13% of
saying that in fact she joked, as she was at the beginning words would have been the total staff. This profile is exceptional
going through a security check at the enough. within the public sector.
court, that she was being treated like a “I am 100% certain this would not have “The CPS has an on-going commitment
friend of Bin Laden. happened unless I had been a Muslim to providing a working environment that
She was suspended from duty while a and Asian.” ensures all its staff are treated with dignity
complaint from the court was investigated. She said she was hoping to use the and respect.”
She was cleared of all allegations in payout to build an orphanage in Pakistan.
2002. The case was not about money but “about
Advertise in
Now the Employment Tribunal has getting my job back and saying what (they Passion Islam &
found that senior officials at the CPS were did) was wrong”, she said.
reach a readership
guilty of racial discrimination for the way In a statement, the CPS said: “The
they handled her case and that a previous CPS accepts the recommendations made
of 90,000
inquiry run by chief executive Peter Lewis by the Employment Tribunal and will be
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